What’s up

The last week has been monumental for us. On Wednesday and Thursday we hosted two highly successful talks by Ajahn Brahm in Sydney. We plan to offer these events on a semi-regular basis, so stay tuned. On Thursday Ajahn Brahm performed the novice ordination for Anagarika Blake, now Venerable Nandiya. Ajahn Brahm returned to Perth straight after the talks, having sprinkled us with more than a little joy and love.

After performing a funeral service and giving a talk on Friday, I flew to Canberra where I gave a children’s class and a talk at the Sri Lankan temple in Kambah. I’ll be going back there once a month, so check Santi’s website for dates.

A shadow fell on my week on Sunday, as after careful deliberation the samaneri ordination for Anagarika Kathryn was cancelled. More than 100 people came down to Santi to show their support and to celebrate her going forth, but this was not to be. The reasons behind this decision, I am sure you will all understand, are a matter for the Sangha. Kathryn remains as an anagarika at Santi, and we all hope that she will receive the going forth in the future.

While we were all disappointed and very sad at the turn of events, I was very proud of the maturity and wisdom that was displayed by the Santi resident Sangha in this difficult time. Everyone was very supportive and compassionate. Together we had a meditation and Dhamma talk in the big cave with all the visitors. Being held in the silence of the cave, reminded of all the hard work that has built up such a wonderful community over the years, was a very healing experience. I shamelessly ripped off one of Ajahn Brahm’s stories, the ‘seven monks’. It was a reminder of the loving-kindness that, for me, is the essence of a living spiritual community.

Tomorrow i’m off to Singapore for some teaching, and also a very brief visit with a friend in Malaysia. I may well not get round to blogging for a couple of weeks – but then again, who knows?

48 thoughts on “What’s up

  1. After years of listening to Ajahn Brahm’s talks on the internet I managed to get to see him `live’ for the second time (first time in Perth) in Sydney last week.

    The talk really lifted my spirits and was enlightening and fun and of course wise and insightful. (It also showed me maybe I watch too much TV as during the meditation I thought he said `what’s for dinner’ — or maybe he did).

    Thanks very much.

  2. i’m surprised that nobody has posted the link to the bswa agm from last Saturday which concerns the ongoing WPP/Ajahn Brahm/Bhikkhuni fallout

    at 1hour and 14 minutes is the President’s report on this issue:

    [audio src="http://media.bswa.org/events/BSWA_AGM_2011_03_12.mp3" /]

    The audio has several interesting comments & suggestions from audience members

    Below is the transcript from the BSWA president
    “31. Fallout from Bhikkuni Ordination.
    It is with some regret that I need to report to our members the hardening of attitudes towards us and in particular to Ajahn Brahm by some senior monks from the Wat Pah Pong group, obviously still angry and annoyed over the Bhikkuni ordination in October 2009. I have just re-read my report from last year, and realized that the harmony and forgiveness I was hoping for last year seems still to be a long way away. It feels like things have got worse. Over the past year I feel our committee and our supporters have, in the interest of harmony and peace, suppressed a lot of feelings and words that could have been said, in the hope that the silence would allow these disaffected monks, who are displaying ill will towards Ajahn Brahm, a clear view of what they are doing in order for them to see where they are at.
    The Wat Pah Pong meeting that disenfranchised our centre and Ajahn Brahm as WPP affiliates never made any mention of following through with a ban on any monks speaking or associating with Ajahn Brahm. It never called for Ajahn Brahm or any monks that associate with him to be “sent to Coventry”. This however, is the reality of our circumstance now. Monks that were coming to teach or stay at Bodinyana have been intimidated and told to expect the same treatment that Ajahn Brahm received if they show any friendship to us. Even monks that we have trained are not allowed to return, on pain of being ostracized. Bodhinyana connected monks have been refused a place to stay in overseas monasteries connected to WPP. There have been many terrible and hurtful things said and done over the past year and frankly it makes me feel ashamed that Buddhist people, especially monks, could do such things.
    I call on the leadership at Wat Pah Pong to take stock of what they are doing. If these things are happening without your knowledge, investigate it, and stop what is happening immediately.
    Wat Pah Pong has inflicted a punishment on the Perth centre for ordaining bhikkunis against their wishes. We have accepted that punishment. As mentioned in last year’s report we are very sad about being disenfranchised from WPP, we never set out to have things turn out the way that it did.
    We can accept that the WPP group does not want to be associated with the ordination of bhikkunis. However we expect that WPP should let us go our own way now that we are not affiliated. If there are monks who feel so strongly about women’s ordination that they do not want to associate with us then that is fine, but we cannot accept the war of fear and intimidation that is being propagated around the world to stop all WPP connected monks associating with us. Unfortunately the stage is set for some very nasty scenes around the world, unless this unfortunate episode can be resolved.
    We have heard from many people around the world who are very concerned about the edicts that are coming from this select group of monks. Stories of intimidation and threats in order to change constitutions so that WPP can have the final say. WPP needs to understand that Western Countries outside Thailand have particular “Incorporations Laws” that govern their countries. I would predict that the constitutions that have been changed following pressure from WPP will not stand up if they ever get to a court. This is to say nothing of the morality behind of what these monks are setting out to do.
    Why is it that WPP want to have control over the Buddhist Societies in other countries any way? Buddhism will only grow in countries where the grass roots people accept it and understand it through there own cultures. Thailand cannot expect to control how Western countries will perceive Buddhism.
    The key note address given at the International Conference on the dissemination of Theravada Buddhism in the 21st Century held in Salaya Bangkok Sep/Oct 2010 by Richard Gombrick, had a lot to say on subjects like this. His discussion focused in particular on Theravadan Buddhism and how it should be best propagated in the West. I would recommend that all interested parties involved in the events since the Nun’s ordination and who are interested in the best way for host counties to export Buddhism into the countries that are interested in accepting it, to read this address. It is available on the web.
    We are sorry for the trouble that has been caused between good friends in carrying out the ordinations in the way that we did, but is was inevitable. As my report last year demonstrated, we in Perth have been on this pathway for a long time. Everyone knew what we were planning to do. The constant refrain from our detractors that we should have done it differently and the spurious notion that we did it secretly does not hold water, any way you look at it. As mentioned in last years report, I still contend and have seen no evidence to change my mind that the secrecy was from the other side. The way that the WPP elders planned to introduce a new Siladara model for women at the Western Abbots Meeting in 2009 still rankles. Ajahn Brahm was never involved in this and was never informed that the secret meetings were taking place. It is here that the rot started and it needs to be acknowledged. Things may have been different if we had known and had participated!
    We are now 18 months past the ordination. Please let us all be friends. It is no fun being at loggerheads with good friends. It is especially not fun being “sent to Coventry” by friends and people you admire and respect.
    We in Perth are resigned to accept our fate in not being part of the Wat Pah Pong group; however we do not wish to be ostracized by monks who are friends and colleagues. If for reasons that you truly can not stand to be with us in the presence of our Bhikkuni community then OK, but we hope you will eventually change your mind. But for those who are interested in friendship, fellowship and propagation of the Dhamma then please break through this barrier of fear and intimidation and come and visit us. We in turn would love to be accepted and be allowed to visit you.
    It is time for all this trouble to stop. Please accept our open hands in friendship.”

    http://media.bswa.org/documents/Presentation%20of%20report%20of%20Committee%20by%20Dennis%20Sheppard.pdf

  3. Here is the link to the bswa agm from last Saturday

    at around 1hour and 14 minutes is the President’s report on the WPP/Ajahn Brahm/Bhikkhuni fallout

    [audio src="http://media.bswa.org/events/BSWA_AGM_2011_03_12.mp3" /]

    There are also several interesting comments & suggestions from audience members

    • Hi Dania,

      Without having to listen through 1hour 15 minutes of audio is there any way to find out names of the new committee? I would appreciate if you could pass this on to the BSWA Web Admin so that this information can be made available. I tried to find it on the BSWA web but couldn’t perhaps I did not look in the right place?

      Many thanks.

    • Hi

      Thanks for posting that info.

      It is great that Buddhism is so strong in Thailand and obviously they have great teachers and monestries their too, but I have never experienced in this country and in other forms of Buddhism sexism like this, there have always been nuns and women lay people in the courses and classes here and they sometimes out number the men.

      Maybe though expulsion from this form of Buddhism is a good thing because speaking as an aussie I would not want Buddhism bringing these attitudes and people into this country, maybe they have done us a favour; lets hope the expelled ones stay here and the ones that don’t get expelled stay in Thailand, well that is not very nice for the Thai women but maybe they can marry some aussies guys and come over here and live.

      I don’t really understand how they can dictate how things should be in this country. We are so lucky to have a country that supports all races, sexes and religions (hopeflully within limits). We got rid of of the White Australia Policy decades ago, (maybe too soon in the case of Wah pang pong males, just kidding) yet they are still discriminating against women.

      After so many years and all the work Ajahn Brahm has done for Buddhism in this country, and internationally how can Wah pan pong people be so harsh, thoughtless, ungrateful and rude to him, they should be ashamed of themselves.

      Ajahm Brahm from the little I know of him and his teachings does not in any way seem to be telling anyone in Thailand what to do or that they need to break with their own out dated sexist ways, he is just doing what is right in and for this country and I would suspect in this day unlike in the Buddhas what is right for the growth of Buddhism, seeing as so many Buddhist are these days women.

      We have policies in this country that would actually mean that unless the monks from Wat Pang Pong are actually trying to force the monestry in Perth to break the laws, policies etc of this Country, not only that but ruin the harmony and equality (generally) we have between the sexes in this country.

      We have become an accepting country, too accepting in some ways and many religions are bringing with them their own forms of racism and discrimination that we have fought so hard to stamp out, but Buddhism is the last religion that I am sure most Aussies would think would discriminate like this, I think alot of Australians would be quite shocked actually.

      Obviously in ordaining anyone care must be taken; I would be the first to say plenty of women or even some nuns should not be or have been ordained or at least were ordained too early or quickly maybe, but would say the same for monks as well, some of the ex-monks I have met have been downright evil and destructive. Sure alot of women are destructive but maybe it is the women you encourage that is the problem, and the reason they are choosen that is the issue.

      I really do not no that much about how or why people get ordained but surely it is about the person not the gender, the motivation and how much someone cares not external appearance when it comes to deciding who can or cannot be ordained and half a brain at least might help too.

      As for telling other Monks, senior ones at that, not to talk to the Monestry in Perth, what sort of wise ordained monks need to be told who they cannot talk to anyway, is this senior monks they are talking about? It is frighening to think after all that training Senior Monks `aren’t allowed’ to make up their own minds or even more frightening, can’t make up their own minds; have they really been studying Buddhism, meditating in caves and forests all that exciting and romantic stuff sounds more like they have been livign at home with their mummies instead!

      No really I would have imagined monks in Thailand would know the Dharma inside out but maybe not and maybe they missed or fell asleep during the discourse of the 4 noble truths and missed one. Here it is again for you guys.

      NOTHING IS PERMANENT, EVERYTHING CHANGES

    • Well said, daegesege!

      I really have nothing of essence to add.

      Sadhu…

      Much metta,

      dheerayupa

    • I mean there definately is, especially in Thervaden groups but not to this degree, that I know of anyway.

  4. Maybe this issue is not just important for the ordaining of women, maybe the whole Bhikkini ordination issue is important in weeding out sexist and weak monks; seeing them for what they really are rather than continually feeding the idea they are so holy.

    Maybe in the Buddha’s time it was understandable that the Sangha where not strong enough to stand the strong energy of women, but in this day and age, if they are still so weak then should they be monks?

    ….maybe being ostricised is the new acceptance yeah!

  5. The Buddha ordained women more than 2500 years ago. If we ask ourselves what would Buddha do today. Of course he would allow women to go forth. There are records ( Therigatha) of numerous women who reached Arahantship as a result. Who is anyone to decide not allowing women to ordain. The Buddha did not revoke the procedure of ordination by bhikkhus only. If a certain bhikkhu decided that they don’t want to give ordination to women for one reason or another that is their own issue, but that doesn’t mean that all other monks have to make the same choice . Unless the person can clearly explain why it is not in accordance with the dhamma of the Buddha to ordain women, he should not interfere with the choice of another bhikkhu .

    The real issue has little to do with the Vinaya being the obstacle. Instead it has something to do with certain monks not wanting to ordain women because of the concern that they might be distracted. Surely , there are other alternatives than blocking off the entire half of the population from entering the spiritual path. The set up like that of Bodhinyana and Dhammasara is an example, where the bhikkhus just carry on with their own practice as usual and the nuns carry on with theirs at theirs monastery. Besides, we should keep in mind that ultimately , transcending desire is not the same as hiding from sense objects. If that is the case then all blind men who can’t see women are liberated from desires .

    The Buddha had intended to set up a bhikkhu and bhikkhuni sangha from the beginning according to the Mahaparinibbana Sutta. There is no reason to turn it into a sangha consisting solely of bhikkhus.

    Aside from this , there is also the open condemnation of bhikkhus who practice and teach Samma Samadhi. If someone doubt that , then it is his or her personal choice to practice something else. As far as condemning other monastic that practice Samma samadhi, there is no justification for that in the suttas.

    I personally feel that there is a need for a renewal in Buddhism. By renewal I mean going back to the words of the Buddha himself . And so far the Perth monastery is doing just that. Ajahn Brahm meditates and inspired others to do the same. He studied the words of the Buddha in the sutta and encourages others to also learn , both lay and monastics. I believe he contributes to building a strong lay and monastic community, bhikkhu and bhikkhuni sangha alike. To say that women shouldn’t be ordained because they might be distracting is a weak excuse. There are alternatives and solution available. It is not necessary to go to the extreme of blocking other’s spiritual practice for this. Also, to demand that other bhikkhus have to follow that logic and act accordingly is going too far.

    As far as ceremony goes, if anything that has no basis in the sutta should be optional if not abandoned. That way it doesn’t distract from essential practices. If the Buddha had thought that a certain practice is necessary for enlightenment he would have incorporate it.

    • Dear iMed,

      Sadhu to your comment. I really do hope that those monks read your post!

      BTW, what do you mean by “there is also the open condemnation of bhikkhus who practice and teach Samma Samadhi”?

      I apologise if you have already mentioned it in another post and I’ve missed it during my long absence from the blog.

      Much metta,

    • Dear Dheerayupa,

      There are some ( here and elsewhere) who condemned other bhikkhus who practice Samma Samadhi ( first four jhanas) , which is # 8 of the Eightfold Path. Some redefine Samma Samadhi to include ” access concentration” ( and exclude the four jhanas) , which is not mentioned in the Sutta to be the definition of Samma Samadhi . It is fine that a certain bhikkhu wanted to practice something else, but it is going too far to condemn any bhikkhu who practice Samma Samadhi ( one or all of the four jhanas) as mentioned by the Buddha himself.

      With Metta,

    • Dear iMed,

      I think I understand what you mean now. I’ve experienced that myself when I went to a meditation centre. A monk singled out those who had practiced ‘Samatha’ meditation and criticised it harshly for a half hour!

      Much metta,

    • Dear iMeditation, a big Sadhu for your post. It’s a very good comment and very powerful and sound. I want to highlight some points you made for others to read. I will copy/paste some of the parts that had an impact on me:

      “The Buddha did not revoke the procedure of ordination by bhikkhus only. If a certain bhikkhu decided that they don’t want to give ordination to women for one reason or another that is their own issue, but that doesn’t mean that all other monks have to make the same choice . ”
      – i totally agree! When i first came across Buddhism in Canada, I automatically assumed that women can also live the monastic life and get ordained by a monk. It’s like going to University: I can attend lectures by either male or female professors and the diploma is handed down to me by either gender.

      “If that is the case then all blind men who can’t see women are liberated from desires .”

      “Aside from this , there is also the open condemnation of bhikkhus who practice and teach Samma Samadhi.” – Eightold path (jhanas as eight factor) leads to nibbana. It’s the fourth noble truth! I mean, basic Buddhism, everyone should know that:)

      “Surely , there are other alternatives than blocking off the entire half of the population from entering the spiritual path.”

      “I personally feel that there is a need for a renewal in Buddhism. By renewal I mean going back to the words of the Buddha himself .”
      totally agree! I think there is such encouragement from monks like Bhante Sujato, Ajahn Brahm and Bhikkhu Brahmali, to go back to the Buddha’s teachings. BSWA had their first sutta weekend retreat in January which was essentially a mixture of the suttas (four noble truths) and meditation. A great mix. We also have to keep in mind that we need to read many suttas and not take all our understanding of Buddhism from just one sutta. Four noble truths and eightfold path is essential Buddhism and repeated everywhere.

      So thank’s iMed (& others) for your great contributions.

    • I just want to clarify on a comment I made after copy/pasting iMeditation’s comment: “The Buddha did not revoke the procedure of ordination by bhikkhus only. If a certain bhikkhu decided that they don’t want to give ordination to women for one reason or another that is their own issue, but that doesn’t mean that all other monks have to make the same choice . ”
      The reason I highlighted that comment is only because it implied that new bhikkhunis can be easily made, even if we can’t find many existing ones. However I want to clarify in case anyone misunderstood, that the two communities would of course still be separated and run their own affairs. It’s just to make new bhikkhunis.
      In Perth, the nun’s community lives a hundred kilometers from the monk’s community which allows their independence and running their own affairs, but they come to listen to a Dhamma talk occasionally which is nice since it gives them access to high quality Dhamma.

    • By the way, I felt that you made a very good point:
      “I personally feel that there is a need for a renewal in Buddhism. By renewal I mean going back to the words of the Buddha himself . And so far the Perth monastery is doing just that. Ajahn Brahm meditates and inspired others to do the same. He studied the words of the Buddha in the sutta and encourages others to also learn , both lay and monastics. I believe he contributes to building a strong lay and monastic community, bhikkhu and bhikkhuni sangha alike. ”

      I think the best we can do is just cultivate the practice and hope that the weeds will die if we don’t water them. If we put a strong emphasis on reading the suttas and developing our own mind, good results are bound to come. I do admire the Perth Buddhist community and it is true that Ajahn Brahm encourages meditation and going back to the Buddha’s teachings. Both monastic communities and lay communities are strong in practice and I find it wonderful that the teachings are accessible and available to all. The Buddha taught with an open hand and it’s quite admirable that AB teaches the same depth of Dhamma to the lay people, so they too can get out of samsara.
      As for the wpp troublemakers, hopefully the new generation, as someone said earlier, won’t make so much trouble in forbidding half the population from the monastic life. If we encourage going back to the Buddha’s teachings and if we all put extra effort into our own practice then good results are bound to come. It’s kamma isn’t it: good intentions will yield good results:)
      I think it’s good if all Buddhists, new and old timers, should make an effort to go back to the Buddhist texts and read the suttas/agamas. This way, once they see over and over again bhikkhuni arahats and Eightfold Path, there wouldn’t be any controversies like we have now.

  6. Am I right in thinking that it is not just Wat Pah Pong or Thailand but actually Bhikuni ordination is not really recognized in all traditionally Theravadan societies by the vast majority of monastics and lay people?

    • Quite possibly true though to varying degrees in the different countries.

      However, Wat Pah Pong (or at least a group within WPP) seems to be the only Theravada Buddhist group that I know about that is threatening it’s members with ‘excommunication’ if they associate with Ajahn Brahm or Bodhinaya Monastery or the Buddhist Society of WA. This particular group of Buddhists seem to be the only ones I know of who are causing fear and initmidation amongst it’s members. They are not ‘allowed’…no really…that’s the word used by one senior western monk…’not allowed’ to visit Bodhinyana monastery.

      I don’t know what I’m most sad about… Good monks who aren’t brave enough… Good monks who can’t see that anyone that threatens them are not worth associating with… Good monks who can’t stand up for what’s right and do something about what’s wrong… Good monks who can’t see the dreadful damage done to themselves and others by acquiecsing out of fear… Or a group of highly respected Buddhists set up by a profoundly wonderful teacher who cannot behave in a more loving manner? I can’t decide which to cry over the most…the whole thing just breaks my heart.

    • I would have to say that there is also a fair amount of presure being exerted by the followers of Ajahn Brahm.

    • Dear Peter,

      The question is, is it unreasonable ? If so in what ways ? Do you suggest that we submit and not ordain women ? If so, what is the reason for that ?

      Besides, are there any justification for WPP to pressure other bhikkhus to dissociate from Ajahn Brahm? Did he do something that goes contrary to the spirit of the dhamma ? If not , is it wholesome to do that to someone just because they can ?

    • Ajahn Brahm was part of a tradition and he went against the conventions of that tradition and this is the consequnce, at this time. Possibly he was right.

      My point is that there seems to be preasure being put on to this situation from all sides not just one side.

    • The post went to a different location, so I am reposting it in this location.

      Dear Peter,

      But what is their justification for such act of alienation? Are they allowed to punish a certain bhikkhu when he has not violated the Buddha’s dharma ? Who gives them the authority to punish according to their preference, without violation of the dharma.

      For example, if someone didn’t commit any traffic violation, but an officer feels like giving him a ticket because he did not submit to something an officer personally prefers him to ( not the law itself) . Who in this case deserves punishment.

    • Peter,
      Can you give an example of pressure – any type of pressure being placed outwards by Ajahn Brahm to other people, anywhere and regarding what?
      I appreciate your contributions and for this reason I am trying to get my head around it.
      A phone call, a conversation, an editorial, a pubic talk, a media appearance, a documentary, legal action, what?
      Do you consider forgiveness an act of pressure?
      Do you consider reconciliation an act of pressure?
      Has there been any vocal public condemnation by Ajahn Brahm of WPP in public forums other than in his own monastery, (if that) (and you havent been there, is that correct?)
      Have there been any public writings by Ajahn Brahm openly condemning WPP conduct regarding women’s ordination which is illegal in Thailand, the UK, internationally and in Australia?
      Has he been actively contacting monks to encoourage them to “defect”?
      Has he told anyone to turn against WPP or done the opposite and encourage people to reconcile and move on?
      You have raised it so please share. :-)

  7. The banning of bhikkhuni ordination is not universal even among the Theraveda tradition. I am sure there are bhikkhus that would want to ordain women but are held back due to firm pressure ( as we have seen). Also this is not the case in many other areas and tradition.

    Why shouldn’t a bhikkhu ordain new bhikkhuni when there is few / or even no bhikkhuni left. The Buddha did not revoke the ordination procedure by bhikkhus only . The dual ordination procedure was instated simply for the purpose of increasing comfort for bhikkhunis during the procedure and not to hinder them. If the bhikhuni does not mind the discomfort nor experience discomfort at the event, then where is there a big problem. Some are making a mountain out of a mole hill unnecessarily. It is inappropriate to use it as a means to hinder them nowadays. It is not in harmony with the spirit of the dhamma. Besides , if the bhikkhunis feel uncomfortable at all it is just the first few bhikhunis that need to have ordination by bhikkhus only . The rest doesn’t need to because there are bhikkhunis available. I would think that the joy of being able to jumpstart the bhikkhuni sangha again outweighs any little discomfort these first few bhikkhunis might feel during the event. The single ordination to jumpstart bhikkhuni sangha again has been done by other Theravedan bhikkhus in the past and not just Ajahn Brahm. Why are the bhikkhus who prefer not to ordain women for their own convenience impose on other bhikkhus to submit to the same selfish logic and decision, or to encourage others to not associate with him .

    The bhikkhus who forbid bhikkhuni ordination have not provide proper justification for their decision to hinder people from the path. The reasons I’ve seen for their personal preference of not ordaining women are very weak and does not align with the spirit of the dhamma. To block off the entire 50 percent of the population is not a small matter. It requires more than just weak excuses for such an action. Despite not having proper justification for their decision, they insist on their way through the use of pressure. Where is the logic or wisdom in this. Also, since bhikkhuni ordination is in harmony with the dhamma, why is Ajahn Brahm being punished? We have not receive substantial explanation or apology for this.

    • Dear iMed,

      Thank you for pointing out this fact again:

      “Why shouldn’t a bhikkhu ordain new bhikkhuni when there is few / or even no bhikkhuni left. The Buddha did not revoke the ordination procedure by bhikkhus only . The dual ordination procedure was instated simply for the purpose of increasing comfort for bhikkhunis during the procedure and not to hinder them. If the bhikhuni does not mind the discomfort nor experience discomfort at the event, then where is there a big problem.”

      I very much would love to see this point more widely disseminated and emphasised. Then, whether bhikkhuni ordinations are legitimate or not would be out of question!

      Much metta,

  8. Will there be negetive karma for male monastics who try to hoard the Dharma and ordination for themselves.

    I have heard from relatively reliable sources that at least some of the “horrific’ atrocities in Tibet that have been occurring over the last fifty years may be due to Tibetans not spreading the Dharma when they had the chance, or it is a way of forcing them to spread the Dharma or something like that.

    Maybe it is not an accurate comparison or even a good or relevant comparison, but then again maybe it is. Surely hoarding ordination from half the population of the world must have some bad results for those that do.

    • “I have heard from relatively reliable sources that at least some of the “horrific’ atrocities in Tibet that have been occurring over the last fifty years may be due to Tibetans not spreading the Dharma when they had the chance”.

      Did I really just read that?

    • Because “relatively reliable sources” and “some of the “horrific’ atrocities in Tibet that have been occurring over the last fifty years may be due to Tibetans not spreading the Dharma when they had the chance” don’t go together.

    • Dear Peter,

      But what is their justification for such act of alienation? Are they allowed to punish a certain bhikkhu when he has not violated the Buddha’s dharma ? Who gives them the authority to punish according to their preference, without violation of the dharma.

      For example, if someone didn’t commit any traffic violation, but an officer feels like giving him a ticket because he did not submit to something an officer personally prefers him to ( not the law itself) . Who in this case deserves punishment.

  9. These poor individuals are really spiralling in a tangled web of delusion and suffering, they can’t seem to let go and the poison is just turning inwards on themselves. It is truly astonishing. How can it be anything but Mara? I am wondering when the sensible “quiet” voices will find their Lion’s Roar, when they will “defect” -literally – is there another word for it if any of this is true? Shall we start a committee and a fund for WPP Refugee monks? Shall I finish that banner that says “Free the Bhikkhus?”

    May I repeat the words – visit Australia – you will see a loving, growing, thriving community, worthy of offerings, worthy of respect. All fear all doubt all delusion would be dispelled.

    Would such words be like daggers in jealous hearts? If so, then how can it be anything but Mara?

    _/\_

  10. Hi iMeditation

    I am not trying to justify the position of anyone but I would imagine, using you analogy of the traffic violation, there are those who would say that there has been a traffic violation. That violation would be that Ajahn Brahm has gone against what is considered correct by the sect into which he was ordained.

    • Dear Peter,

      Speaking of traffic violation, who’s rule are we using as a basis for that punishment ?

      WPP is not like an independent company that a certain person established and set up his own rules . They are part of the sangha established by the Buddha. The bhikkhus are not above the dhamma and vinaya of the Buddha. They can’t say , ‘well this is the rule of WPP, regardless if Ajahn Brahm does not violate the spirit of the dhamma . If he doesn’t obey us, all other bhikkhus will be forbid to associate with him. ‘

      The power to make other bhikkhus abide by WPP or any bhikkhu’s order other than Buddha was not granted to any disciple or group of disciples. We have to refer to the dhamma instead of specific rules set up by any group of bhikkhus as a basis for punishing a bhikkhu.

      According to MN 108 :

      “It is not the venerable ones that make us act; it is the Dhamma that makes us act.” – MN 108

    • Yes; and just to clarify, according to vinaya, a Sangha cannot carry out a punishment against another Sangha. Of course, a Sangha cannot carry out a punishment for performing ordination anyway, but there you go.

    • The reality of the situation is that there is not one unified monastic tradition which runs back to the Buddha. Ajahn Brahm went against the convention of the monastic comunity into which he ordaained and the present situation is the consequence. This is not a moral judgement. However many times the scripture is quoted and the moral high ground is taken, this does not change the way things are.

      The spin and pressure being sent out from Ajahn Brahms community is relentless.

    • Dear Peter,

      Peter wrote: “Ajahn Brahm went against the convention of the monastic comunity into which he ordaained and the present situation is the consequence.”
      And what is this ” convention ” based on ?

      Peter wrote: “This is not a moral judgement. However many times the scripture is quoted and the moral high ground is taken, this does not change the way things are. The spin and pressure being sent out from Ajahn Brahms community is relentless.”
      Do you think we should abide by a ” convention” that is not in accordance with the spirit of the dhamma ?

    • iMeditation, the convention is based on what is considered right and correct by the monastic group into which Ajahn Brahm was ordained (the Maha Nikaya of Thailand I believe).

      The “spirit of dhamma” is subjective.

      I personally do not have an issue with ordination for woman.

    • Dear Peter,

      Regarding ” what is considered right and correct by the monastic group into which Ajahn Brahm was ordained “, what is it based on ?

    • If we don’t know what this ” convention” is based on then why should we submit to this ” convention” or its punishment ?

  11. Those who believe that Theravada bhikkhuni ordination is possible in the 21st century are a tiny minority of Theravada Buddhists in the world. The vast majority of sincere Theravada Buddhists suppose that the Theravada bhikkhuni order died out long ago and cannot be revived. Those who have carefully examined the history and the pertinent Vinaya rules and concluded that Theravada bhikkhuni ordination is actually possible now are a very few indeed but include some very erudite scholars.

    • Dear Visakha,

      The way I see it, few doesn’t necessarily equal wrong. And many does not naturally mean that it is correct.

      Ordination by bhikkhus only does not diminish a bhikkhuni’s practice in anyway. It is just that a certain bhikkhuni felt embarrassed when being asked personal questions at the event, so out of compassion the Buddha have bhikkhunis ask these questions at the event instead, just to make her feel more comfortable. That is all. There is nothing wrong with ordination by only bhikkhus .

      If the first few bhikkhunis don’t feel shy, then why should bhikkhus have a problem with it ? It does not effect his practice in anyway, nor does it effect her practice anyway.

      The Buddha did not forbid them , nor does he has any problem with the single ordination he instated originally, the dual ordination was simply for the purpose of eliminating any feelings of discomfort his new disciple might feel for the duration of the event.

      Some bhikkhus rather have the entire bhikkhuni sangha remain extinct rather than risk having the first few bhikkhunis feel embarrass, if they feel embarrass at all. Even after a number of prominent Theraveda bhikkhus already decided to ordain new bhikkhunis to jumpstart the bhikkhuni sangha again in Sri Lanka awhile back, some bhikkhus do their best to forbid other bhikkhus to follow .

    • Dear Bhante,
      Do you mean an anonymous survey of who is for and who is against or on issues around embarassment? (Well, I can see creepy gender dynamics there, especially knowing what we know now about ignorant attitudes towards women. Personally, I would prefer to be ordained by Bhikkhunis, although I felt differently a few years ago. Since most of my beloved teachers have been male, and I truly believe in a broader understandng of Sangha being a family and something we build together, I would want them there too.)
      _/\_

  12. Hello all, this is off topic but since this forum is for discussion about Buddhist themes, I would like to ask a question (perhaps Bhante Sujato can reply if he has a chance). I occasionally pick up the suttas to read some more of the Buddha’s teachings and i’m currently reading the DN3 Agganna sutta and it’s weird! It’s really unlike the other suttas I’ve read. This one is the ‘origin of things’ and I don’t know how to interpret it. It reminds me of the Christian cartoons of how the world began.
    My friend said that Bhante Sujato wrote a book about this sutta. do you have a paper that would explain how we should understand that sutta? How do we approach these ‘storylike’ suttas? Is there a teaching in them? Is there an equivalent in the Agamas?
    thank you, this sutta is leaving me quite confused!:)

    • Hi Dania,

      I wrote an essay about this some time ago; you can find it here. This is from the website that is based on the picture-book of this sutta that I made a few years ago with an artst to do the pictures. the website still mostly works, but is in bad need of upgrading; i’ll get around to it some time….

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